I know that finding a good and durable paint protection film may be a pain in the butt for you guys, which is why I’m writing this article. Together with my own experience, I also researched other peoples’ experiences, as well as the whole PPF market, to find only the highest quality paint protection films that work wonders.
Also, this will be a list of the best transparent paint protection films, not the colored ones, such as vinyl wraps.
Top 3 Best Paint Protection Films For Cars
These are the 3 most quality films you can get to protect the automotive paint. I would be more than happy to feature even more films, but there aren’t too many high-quality PPFs out there. There are some high-quality brands, such as Avery and LLumar, but they’re not so widely available (only through dealerships).
1. XPEL Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film – My Recommendation
XPEL is probably the most known brand when it comes to clear bras. They have great products, and their lineup of products is pretty huge. There are a few different types of transparent films that you can choose from. In my opinion, the XPEL Ultimate Plus (check price now) is the best choice.
The film is made from an elastomeric polyurethane and will protect the clear coat on your car against scratches, nicks, debris, swirl marks, rock chips, bird droppings, road debris, and much more. The film is 8mills (0.0008 inches) thick, which is more than enough for high-level protection.
To increase films’ protection properties, XPEL also added an additional layer of top coating to resist scratching, increase the shine of your car, and add additional hydrophobic properties to the film. That topcoat will also prevent discoloration, especially against harmful UV rays.
What I like about XPEL is that there are more types of films to choose from: XPEL Ultimate Plus, XPEL Stealth, XPEL Armor, and much more. I recommend the Ultimate Plus because it’s the best choice for most people, but make sure to choose the one that suits your needs.
All XPEL paint protection products have self-healing properties. If you somehow scratch the film, you only need a heat gun to fix it. After heating the film, it’ll return to its normal state, without those minor scratches.
- The best ppf on the market
- Fantastic clarity
- Won’t become yellowish
- Fantastic self-healing properties
- XPEL offers pre-cut kits for specific cars
- 10-year warranty (if installed by professionals)
- It can get expensive if you want to wrap the whole car
2. 3M Scotchguard Clear PPF
- 3M paint protection film is virtually invisible once installed
- Clear polyurethane film is 6mil thick with adhesive backing
- Product applied to reduce paint chips and road damage
3M is a well-known brand in the auto detailing world, and the quality of its products is always outstanding. The same thing applies to their paint protection films, which are amazing.
3M Scotchguard Vivid PPF is a film made from polyurethane and is 8mills (0.0008 inches) thick, with an adhesive backing for easy installation. It’s a perfect invisible shield for all kinds of vehicles, and it offers fantastic protection against rock chips, swirl marks, and light scratches.
There are various sizes of film you can choose from depending on your needs. Mostly you’ll see smaller dimensions since people often install PPF on some car body parts instead of wrapping the whole car in a clear bra.
3M has an online guide on installing clear wraps, which is fantastic and will surely help you if you attempt to install the film by yourself.
- 3M has a thorough online installation guide
- Various sizes to choose from
- 5-10 years of protection
- Self-healing PPF
- It’s a bit pricy, but you really get a high-quality product
3. Install Proz Self-Healing Clear PPF
- We Only Offer High Quality Self-Healing Paint Protection Film
- All Products In This Bundle Are Universal And Can Be Easily Trimmed For Optimal Fit
- All Products Are Virtually Invisible, 8mill Material
Install Proz company concentrates on high-quality paint protection film kits. So, you can buy various kits depending on what part of the car you want to protect. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to buy large rolls for wrapping the whole vehicle.
Self-healing clear paint protection film kits are made of high-quality urethane and are 8 mills (0.0008 inches) thick.
Each kit comes with everything you need to install the film on your car, which is fantastic for all DIYers out there. Also, each kit has video installation guides included, which makes the whole installation process even easier.
- Easy to apply film
- All-in-one kits
- No warranty information
- Not as quality as 3M and XPEL
- Can’t buy in bulk rolls
How To Choose The Right PPF (Buying Guide)
Choosing the right paint protection film that’ll protect your vehicle isn’t extremely hard. Honestly, by choosing any of the three PPFs above, you won’t make a mistake. However, there are still some things you should take into consideration:
- What type of PPF do you want for your car
- Do you want to fully or partially cover your car’s paint
- How much money do you have
- How experienced you are
Type of PPF
There are several types of paint shields you can choose from. Not all brands have more types, but here are the most common types of PPFs:
- Transparent and glossy
- Matte PPFs
- Ultra thick paint protection films (XPELL Armor is 13 mills thick)
There may be some additional types, but these are the ones that people mostly buy for their vehicles. So, decide what kind of appearance and protection you want, and buy the proper foil. No matter what type of PPF you choose, make sure it’s from a trusted company with high-quality products.
Full or Partial Application
Not all brands let you buy extremely large rolls that you can use to cover the entire car. Remember, paint protection film should always be applied in one piece per car body part. You can’t use two films for the same body part. It’ll look ugly, and it won’t be so durable.
DIYers mostly apply paint protection films partially, and for full coverage, the best thing is to go to a certified detailer or vinyl wrapper.
3M and XPEL offer some larger films, while Install Proz only offers small films for specific car parts.
Paint protection films are pretty expensive, especially if you’re going to apply them to the whole vehicle. You should know your budget to choose the film. However, even if your budget isn’t large, make sure to avoid extremely cheap PPFs. They are mostly crap and won’t last more than a few months.
If you’re on a tight budget, don’t save money on films. Instead, learn how to do it and apply them by yourself. Just make sure that you have some companions. It’s much easier when there are more hands.
If you’re a DIY kind of person and already have some experience in detailing vehicles or similar jobs, then you could attempt to apply film by yourself and save a lot of money. Just make sure to pick the film that’s easy to install and potentially have some installation guides.
However, if you’re inexperienced and afraid of doing the job, I advise you to pay a professional detailer or vinyl wrapper to do it. It’ll last more, and long-term, you’ll probably save some money. When you mess up PPFs, fixes are pretty expensive.
Additional Equipment You’ll Need For Installation
In order to apply paint protection film on your car, you’ll need some equipment.
Here’s a quick list of all the things you’ll need:
- Paint protection film application kit
- Sharp scissors
- Empty spray bottle
- Spraying solution made from IPA, distilled water, and some shampoo
- Heat gun (only for dry application, which I don’t recommend)
In addition to the equipment above, for the best results, I also advise you to do paint correction first and fix all the swirl marks and scratches. Otherwise, you won’t get such good results. Here’s a quick guide on how to polish your car.
Paint protection films have their pros and cons, but the most important thing is to always buy a proven product that’ll last for years. All the products on the list above are great, and you won’t make a mistake choosing any paint protection film that I recommended.
If you’re not sure about PPFs, make sure to check other types of paint protection (waxes, sealants, ceramic coatings), which I recommend to 99% of you out there.